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IHOP Chairman Quits; Successor Is Named

January 04, 2003|Karen Robinson-Jacobs | Times Staff Writer

Richard K. Herzer resigned Thursday as chairman of Glendale-based IHOP Corp., turning the job over to longtime director Larry Alan Kay, the company said Friday. IHOP owns and franchises International House of Pancakes restaurants.

Herzer, 71, had been with IHOP for more than 35 years, becoming chairman in 1983. Four years later, he led a management buyout of the chain and in 1991 took the company public. Since then, the chain has doubled its units to more than 1,100 and tripled sales to $1.4 billion for 2002.

His departure comes just three weeks after former Chief Financial Officer Alan S. Unger left the chain and about seven months after Julia A. Stewart replaced Herzer as chief executive. Stewart was named president in December 2001.

With the recent changes, the chairman, chief executive and chief financial officer will have, collectively, less than a year's experience in their posts. Analysts, however, said they expected no major changes, given that Kay, 55, has been a director with IHOP since 1987.

"This was not a surprise to us," said Michael W. Gallo, who covers IHOP for New York-based CL King & Associates. "Richard Herzer did an excellent job with the company for a long time. He had been looking to retire."

Stewart, who was among those considered for the chairman's post, agreed, adding, "I wouldn't foresee that there would be any marked change."

Kay, a consultant and private investor, served as the corporation's secretary and general counsel from 1980 to 1993.

IHOP shares fell 42 cents to $24.09 on the New York Stock Exchange. That is down a third from their 52-week high of $36.46.

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